Lockheed Martin Creates Autonomous Convoy, Brings Robotics Into Warfare

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Lockheed Martin has recently completed testing an autonomous convoy that utilizes advanced robotics, making humanized warfare transportation nearly obsolete. The test was a part of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’ Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) installation. The program assisted testers to successfully navigate heavy-duty military vehicles in an urban setting, complete with real-world obstacles a military convoy may encounter on the battlefield. Military vehicles have been designed to protect cargo and soldiers; however, new technology and robotics could eliminate the soldiers’ need to be at risk in times of war.

The demonstration earlier this month manifested the conclusion of the CAD advancement demonstration. The test involved robotic, driverless military tactical vehicles maneuvering around obstacles and hazards such as traffic, intersections, disabled vehicles, and pedestrians in downtown and rural areas. David Simon, AMAS program manager in Lockheed Martin’s Missile and Fire Control division, stated that the AMAS CAD software and applications were executed as perfectly as it was designed. The hardware was able to take the heavy-duty transportation vehicles through the scenario as good as a human would even in an urban scenario.

The AMAS software is designed to mechanize the driving task of tactical transportation. While the equipment resembles a first generation automotive robotics application, the software is the most advanced military and aerospace manufactures have to offer. The software uses high-tech LIDAR, a laser-based guidance system, a GPS receiver, and advanced algorithms to create a virtual sense of what is around the vehicle. Although the application sounds time consuming to install, it can be integrated to nearly any military ground vehicle without much delay. During the Fort Hood demonstration the equipment was installed on an Army M915 truck, one of the most utilized ground vehicles on the battlefield.

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TARDEC technical manager Bernard Theisen explained the importance of having members from the technology, procurement, and user divisions present to display the feats of the newly developed robotics. Representatives from the divisions play a key role in the integration of many types of applications used in modern warfare. Overall, Theisen said that his team was very pleased with the results. The demonstration substantially improves the Army’s determination to integrate enhanced mechatronics into their robotics systems. Soldiers fighting on the battlefield will now have a futuristic edge to assist them in their endeavors.

Senior Army Leaders from multiple Army divisions and TARDEC were in attendance to observe the demonstration. AMAS CAD was financially backed by ARCIC and Lockheed Martin. Formerly, the AMAS JCTD was directed at enhancing the security of drivers in a convoy mission. The CAD, on the other hand is aimed at eliminating the driver from mode of transportation.

For over 30 years, Lockheed Martin has used its systems-integration capabilities in a wide-range of ground vehicles for the United States and other global allied forces. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and other ground forces defense vehicles are among the many applications Lockheed Martin has supplied the U.S. Military to defend the country. As war continues into the future, Lockheed Martin will remain a large benefactor in introducing more robotics into warfare, starting with their autonomous convoy.

By: Alex Lemieux



Wall Street Journal